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Musculoskeletal Interface

Musculoskeletal Interface

The Musculoskeletal Service (MIS) is a "one-stop-shop" for patients with musculoskeletal (MSK) problems.

Service Leads

The General Musculoskeletal Interface Service is jointly led by Consultant Rheumatologist, Dr Ajit Menon and Consultant Physiotherapist, Mrs Kay Stevenson.

The Spinal Interface Service is jointly led by Dr Shouma Dutta, Consultant Rheumatologist and Dr Kika Konstantinou, Specialist Spinal Physiotherapist.

Mrs Emma Hall is the Rheumatology Service Manager who oversees the Musculoskeletal Interface Service and Rheumatology Services.

Staff Profiles

Dr Ajit Menon

Dr Ajit Menon, Consultant Rheumatologist and Clinical Lead for Musculoskeletal Services

Clinical Interest: Ankylosing Spondylitis and Sero-negative arthritis.

Highest Qualification:  MBBS, MD (Medicine), CCT (Rheumatology), FRCP.

Dr Shouma Dutta

Dr Shouma Dutta, Consultant Rheumatologist, Joint Clinical Lead Spinal Interface Service Clinical Lead for Rheumatology

Clinical Interest: Early inflammatory arthritis, connective tissue disease, metabolic bone disease, musculoskeletal conditions.

Highest Qualification: MBChB (Edinburgh), MRCP (London)

Kay Stevenson

Kay Stevenson, Consultant Physiotherapist, NIHR Knowledge Mobilisation Fellow, Honorary Senior Lecturer, Joint Clinical Lead Musculoskeletal Interface Service

Clinical interest: Musculoskeletal Pain, shoulder and knee pain, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, evidence based practice (ebp@keele.ac.uk), implementation of research into practice, clinical education, clinical leadership and extension of physiotherapy roles. Joint appointment with Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre, Keele University. Lead Tutor on 3 masters modules at Keele University (Principles and Practice of Soft Tissue and Joint Injections, Musculoskeletal Management at the Interface and Clinical Effectiveness). 

Publications available at http://www.keele.ac.uk/pchs/staff/researchstaff/kaystevenson/

Highest qualification: M.Phil (2002).   Research Interest: Shoulder pain, STarT Back implementation, carpal tunnel syndrome, early hip osteoarthritis.

Kika Konstantinou

Kika Konstantinou, Senior Clinical Lecturer (HEFCE/NIHR) / Spinal Physiotherapy Specialist, Joint Clinical Lead Spinal Interface Service. Clinical Academic; Joint appointment with Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre, Keele University

Academic / Research activities: Leading research in epidemiology and clinical trials in low back pain and sciatica, supervision of PhD students, design and delivery of interventions for research studies.

Clinical interest: Spinal pain and related conditions. Profile and Publications at: http://www.keele.ac.uk/pchs/staff/seniorresearchstaff/kikakonstantinou/

Highest qualification: PhD (2003).

Ashraf Ali

Ashraf Ali, Musculoskeletal Extended Scope Practitioner

Clinical interest: Manual therapy Knees and shoulders.

Highest qualification: MSc Manual therapy, MACP.

Research Interest: GP perceptions about the service. I have co published an article in British Journal of Health Care Management, October 2013 “ General Practitioner perception of physiotherapy services”.

Dr Mahesh Ciras

Dr Mahesh Ciras, Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine

Clinical Interest: shoulder, foot and ankle, soft tissue injuries, sports injuries, Chronic pain, rehabilitation of chronic musculoskeletal conditions.

Highest qualification: MRCS, Dip Sports and exercise medicine, CCT in Rehabilitation medicine Research Interest chronic shoulder pain and non-operable shoulders and post stroke pain.

Rob Bryan

Rob Bryan, Musculoskeletal Extended Scope Practitioner AHP Lead for UHNM

Clinical Interest: Muskuloskeletal pain, rehabilitation and implementation of research into clinical practice. Governance and management systems.

Highest Qualification: MBA Research Interest Musculoskeletal pain and rehabilitation.

Corinna Dennison

Corinna Dennison, Spinal Extended Scope Practitioner

Clinical Interest: Spinal pain, pelvic pain, physiotherapy.  

Teaching Commitments: Contributes to physiotherapy in service training programme, mentoring community physiotherapists, facilitation of learning in community physiotherapy.

Highest qualification: BSc (hons) Physiotherapy.

Hannah Elliott

Hannah Elliott, Spinal and Musculoskeletal ESP

Clinical Interest: Spinal Triage, sciatica, hip pain and physiotherapy for complex spinal pain.  

Research Interests: Involved in the HIT OA study.  

Highest Qualification: BSc (hons) Physiotherapy.

Lucy Huckfield

Lucy Huckfield, Spinal Extended Scope Practitioner/ Research Physiotherapist

Clinical interest: Spinal conditions, sciatica, physiotherapy Teaching commitments Involved in education teaching of Physiotherapists, nurses and medical students.  

Research Interest: My research Physiotherapist role is to facilitate the set up and smooth running of musculoskeletal physiotherapy studies in the Stoke –on-Trent area that are on the NIHR portfolio.

Highest Qualification: BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy 2001.

Sarah Linney

Dr Sarah Linney, MBChB MRCGP DCH DRCOG DFRSH LoCIUT LoCSDI MMedSci CertMedEd, General Practitioner with a Specialist Interest in Musculoskeletal Medicine GP Partner at Higherlands Surgery, Salaried GP at Talke Clinic OOH, GP at SDUC 

Clinical interest: Musculoskeletal Medicine Contraceptive and Sexual Health.

Teaching Commitments: West Midlands GP Trainer at Higherlands Surgery, Keele University Medical School Tutor at Higherlands Surgery, Foundation Year Supervisor (UHNM) at Higherlands Surgery Teach on the Keele University Joint Injection Module Research Interest Relevant MSK and GP research projects.

Highest qualification: MRCGP

Karen Morley-Williams

Karen Morley-Williams, Spinal ESP Physiotherapist

Clinical interest: Spinal Pain, Spondyloathropathies and Management of Chronic Pain. Treatment of complex persistent spinal pain.

Teaching Commitments: Contributes to Spinal element of Physiotherapy IST programme. Teaching on LBP MSK module Nursing/ AHP Masters programme at Keele.

Research Interest: Spinal and recruitment to BSBR AS/ SpA studies. Involved in HIT OA Study Highest qualification Bsc.(Hons) Physiotherapy.

Alison Morris

Alison Morris, Musculoskeletal Extended Scope Practitioner

Clinical Interest: Evidence Based Practice, Musculoskeletal Pain, Shoulder and knee pain.  

Highest Qualification: MSc Neuromusculoskeletal Heath Care 2002.

Research Interest: Recruitment for Local Trials Getting research evidence into practice through local musculoskeletal research Group.

Alan Nagington

Alan Nagington, Spinal ESP Physiotherapist

Clinical interest: Spinal triage, Physiotherapy treatment for complex spinal pain, Sciatica, Ultrasound Guided Caudal Epidural Injections.

Teaching Commitments: Contributes to medical student teaching in spinal triage.  

Research Interest:  Research physiotherapist for SCOPiC (sciatica) study Highest qualification BSc.(Hons) Physiotherapy.

Caroline Oakley

Caroline Oakley, Musculoskeletal Extended Scope Practitioner

Clinical Interest: Manual Therapy, Knee pathologies and Hypermobility Syndrome.

Highest Qualification: Msc in Manual Therapy and a member of the Musculoskeletal Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (MACP).  

Research Interest: Clinical Effectiveness of Extended scope Practitioners and Manual Therapy.

Kirsty Thomson

Kirsty Thomson, Musculoskeletal Extended Scope Practitioner

Clinical interest: Shoulder and knee pain, Physiotherapy and sharing best practice.

Research Interests: Management of OA knee pain and shoulder pain.

Highest Qualification: BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy (2003).

Dr Rajeev Singha

Dr Rajeev Singha, Associate Specialist in Rehabilitation Medicine

Clinical interest: Rehabilitation.  

Highest qualification:  M.S. in Orthopaedics, Diploma in Rehab Medicine.


Dr Simon Somerville, GPwSI Musculoskeletal Medicine

Clinical Interest: Musculoskeletal and Sports Medicine.  

Teaching Commitments: Keele Medical Students.  

Research Interest: Low Back Pain Highest qualification FRCGP, MSc Sports and Exercise Medicine.


Dr Vamsi Tiguti, GPwSI Musculoskeletal Medicine


The Service

The Musculoskeletal Interface Service is a multi-professional service that assesses patients over the age of 18 with non-inflammatory and non-surgical musculoskeletal disease. We accept referrals from general practitioners and physiotherapists, aiming to see patients within 3 weeks of referral. We assess and diagnose their musculoskeletal problem and agree a management plan in conjunction with the patient.

The Musculoskeletal Service has 2 distinct services:

  1. General Musculoskeletal Service
  2. Spinal Interface Service

Details of both can be found on this website.

Mission Statement

To provide a world class, evidence based, multi professional, specialist service for patients with musculoskeletal symptoms.

Types of Conditions Seen

Within the general Musculoskeletal Interface Service we are very happy to assess patients 18 years and above with any muscle or joint problems. This can include conditions such as early to late osteoarthritis and soft tissue tendinopathies, however we do not see Red Flag pathology, inflammatory arthropathies or children 17 and under.

Referral Guidance

Within the Service we are happy to see any patient with a musculoskeletal problem. We do advise that general practitioners and physiotherapists manage the patient’s pain through appropriate analgesia and appropriate exercises and advice. We generally recommend primary care management initially which could take up to 4 to 6 weeks of treatment prior to referral into our Service. Specific referral guidance can be found on the attached document.

Patient Resources

To help patient manage their own condition, we direct them towards information on Arthritis Research UK Website http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/. In clinics we can provide paper copies of useful booklets or direct patients to the appropriate website If patients are seen at the Haywood Hospital they will have access to the Patient Information Resource Centre. This centre is run by volunteers for patients and was funded by the Haywood Foundation Charity. A wealth of help and information is available for patient and carers.

Musculoskeletal Interface Service Governance

All clinicians that work within the Musculoskeletal Interface Service are highly trained and experienced clinicians. We have rheumatologists, rehabilitation medicine specialists, general practitioners with special interest, consultant physiotherapists and advanced physiotherapy practitioners that work within the Service. All staff have additional Masters’ Level training on assessing and managing musculoskeletal disease. Within the team we have regular 3 monthly training events. In the past we have had clinical updates from vascular surgeons, orthopaedic surgeons and pain specialists. This is to ensure the team is fully aware of the latest referral criteria for other services. We have evidence based clinical guidelines to assist the management of patients within our Service. These are a combination of clinical consensus and the latest evidence from NICE and our own reviews of the evidence.

Clinic Location

We have clinics located around North Staffordshire and the Stoke on Trent area and these include clinics at the Haywood Hospital, Longton Cottage Hospital, Leek Moorlands Hospital, Bradwell Hospital and the University Hospital of North Midlands. We have daytime and evening clinics available.

What Patients Can Expect

Patients can expect a rapid appointment to be seen in the Musculoskeletal Interface Service. Over 90% of our patients are seen within a 2 to 3 week window. They will receive a 30 minute detailed assessment from an expert musculoskeletal clinician who will discuss both their functional difficulties and any other issues related to their musculoskeletal problem. The clinician in discussion with the patient will decide if any investigations are required and these will be arranged in a timely manner. Investigations may include x-rays, MRI scans, blood tests, nerve conduction studies. The patient can expect either a letter or a phone call as soon as the results become available to the clinician and the management plan will be developed in consultation with the patient.

How to Refer

GPs are to refer through the electronic Choose and Book service. Physiotherapists can refer by letter.

Our Research Links

The Musculoskeletal Interface Service has very strong links with the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre at Keele University. Several of our staff have joint appointments between the Service and Keele University. We have a very strong research link and have undertaken several trials in the Interface Service that will assist the management of primary care patients in the future. We undertook the first observational study of Interface Services in 2014. In this study, we explored the patient characteristics of over 2,500 patients that presented to our Service. We have recently completed recruitment to the SUPPORT Trial. This trial explored the most effective treatment for patients presenting with shoulder impingement syndrome. Currently we are recruiting to a trial to explore the most effective treatment for patients with mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome. We have also started recruiting patents to a trial that will be exploring the most effective treatment for early to moderate hip osteoarthritis.


The team has recently won the ‘Outstanding Clinical Practice Award from the British Society of Rheumatology, 2016’. This is in recognition of the team’s work with embedding evidence based care into patient management. It has also been recognised as an exemplar of Best Practice by the Kings Fund and the Department of Health.

How to Contact the Service

For general queries, please contact Libby Wood, Service Co-ordinator on 01782 673916.